House Committee to Consider Legalization Bill Tomorrow

In a landmark occasion for cannabis reform, federal lawmakers in the House Judiciary Committee are expected to vote tomorrow on the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act tomorrow; the bill aims to federally legalize adult-use cannabis.

Full story after the jump.

The House Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act tomorrow. The measure would remove cannabis from the federal Controlled Substances Act, allow Veterans Administration physicians to recommend cannabis for veterans in states with legalized access, and incentivize states to implement expungement policies.

The plan was first reported by Tom Angell for Forbes.

Effectively, the measure would allow sales nationwide and includes language that would establish a 5 percent tax that would be deposited into an “Opportunity Trust Fund” in the Treasury Department. Those funds would be divvied between the Attorney General’s office for legal aid and the Small Business Administration for equity and job training programs.

In the House of Representatives, the measure includes 55 Democratic co-sponsors – from both legal and non-legal states – but no Republicans. It was introduced in July by Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY).

In the GOP-controlled Senate, the bill is sponsored by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), who is also seeking the Democratic nomination for president. Other presidential hopefuls Sens. Elizabeth (D-MA) and Corey Booker (D-NJ) are two of only 5 total co-sponsors – all Democrats – on the measure in the Senate.

NORML Political Director Justin Strekal thanked Nadler in a statement, adding that “never in history have we been closer to ending the failed policy of marijuana criminalization and providing pathways to opportunity for our brothers and sisters who have suffered under its oppressive reign.”

“The MORE Act is the most comprehensive marijuana policy reform bill ever introduced in Congress and is backed by a broad coalition of civil rights, criminal justice, drug policy, and immigration groups. Those who oppose this legislation moving forward are defenders of a failed status-quo that ruins the lives of otherwise law-abiding adults on a daily basis, overwhelmingly enforced against the poor and communities of color.” – Strekal, in a statement

Last month, a Gallup poll found that two-thirds of Americans support cannabis legalization – the same level of support from a poll last year; Republican support in both polls topped 50 percent.

If the measure were moved to the full chamber, it would mark the first time cannabis de-scheduling legislation would be considered by a chamber of Congress. In September, the House passed the SAFE Banking Act 321-103; that bill marked the first time stand-alone cannabis legislation was considered by the full House.

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